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Power Plays

The human drama fueling Israel’s election story

Photos: Flash90

ON its face, Israel’s elections last week looked like a simple story: an impassioned right flank turned up at the ballot boxes en masse in a stinging repudiation of the Bennet-Lapid government, which invited Arab parties into the coalition and made seismic concessions to the anti-religious left. Bibi was heralded back to power, the unabashedly ideological religious right swelled in triumph, and the left was relegated to licking its wounds in the opposition.

But a closer reading of the elections yields a very different, much more nuanced story.

Behind the sweeping victory were tense calculations, real risks, surprising alliances and uncomfortable decisions. Behind the numbers and percentages were voters with fears, hopes, and considerable doubts.

Most importantly, Bibi’s decisive majority was actually the fruit of a slim electoral victory, with a gap of just several thousand votes between the two camps. It’s the story of a deeply divided people whose differences revolve not so much around political and security stances, but around the religious character of the country they all call their own.

Who were the major faces of these elections, what went on behind the scenes, and what do their stories tell us about Israel’s complex demographic reality? Closeup portraits of four major players, complemented by voices of real voters who brought the new coalition into power, tell the story.


(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 935)

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